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Old 04-10-2012, 05:26 PM   #19
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I've been trying to make them understandable, but of course some of it is hard to get without a certain background.

And of course, there are always going to be some people who thing that it is the same as whatever it is that they're already doing - although it is, in all likelihood, quite different.

Then there are those whose eyes just glaze over when they hear about spear wielding gods and the void (I sympathize, believe me).

Then there are the people who have enjoyed them and contacted me privately about them - which I appreciate, of course. It would be interesting to see more of a conversation going, though.


Hi Chris,
Been away from AikiWeb (voluntarily) for a little while. But, since you asked about starting a conversation ...

So, we have
1. Opposing forces themselves. Fire/water, in/yo, etc.

2. Then, you have the these opposing forces in a spiral. As you noted in your article, Ueshiba said, "The Floating Bridge of Heaven is the turning of fire and water bound together. Fire moves water, water is moved by fire. Fire and water are one thing. They turn in a spiral."

3. Aiki. Now, according to Ueshiba, aiki is something other than just the opposing forces.

4. Breath, breathing, chanting.

5. Structure.

6. Power

There is a lack of 5 and 6 in your blog post, but I'm sure it's covered elsewhere. But, it's interesting to note that Ueshiba broke down some of it so nicely.

So if we take, for an example, the often used unbendable arm where one is supposed to imaging water going out one's arm so that it becomes unbendable. But, according to Ueshiba, that's not nearly enough. One must have opposing forces. Wait, not quite right. One must have opposing forces that are in a spiral. Thinking of water going out the arm is only 1/3 of the whole equation. Kind of hard to actually get to aiki if 2/3 are missing.

Now, we have to wonder just where all these fire/water spiral(s) are supposed to be happening? Not just externally, because Ueshiba pretty clearly laid out the fact that it's all within oneself. So, where are these fire/water movements taking place?

It's nice to see the Chen model on display, thanks. We can see that in Chen style, these opposing forces are all over the body. But, is there anything in Ueshiba's talks to point to that? Just curious. (You know I'm 100% behind you - I'm just musing out loud to the public and trying to generate conversation.)

Then we have aiki ... According to Ueshiba, once you have fire/water, yin/yang, in/yo, Izanagi/Izanami, heaven/earth spirals, you must intertwine them with ki. To do that, you use breath. Once you have that, you have aiki. But, that's quite a leap of, um, faith.

If I had not been specifically shown certain things and heard those words, I'd have been completely lost. Even knowing some of the Chinese classic theories, unless I actually had more of a physical understanding, I'd have trouble following Ueshiba. I can certainly see why his students (both pre-war and post-war) complained about not understanding him.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Hope you're doing well. Maybe one day, I'll make it over there to say hi in person.

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